Golf or softball?
Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton has won state championships in both sports – four straight in Division I softball and two D-I boys’ golf titles since 2010, including the 2013 tournament that wrapped up on Saturday (Nov. 2) at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.
“It’s hard to answer that. It’s all good,’’ he said, taking the diplomatic route.
Hamilton’s Mountain Lions survived a second-day charge by Mesa neighbor Mountain View to win by three shots, 586-589.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Ben Harden captured the individual medalist honors, shooting a final-round 67 for a 138, three shots in front of Scottsdale Chaparral’s Jake Deforest and Red Mountain’s J.T. Rodenkirch.
Red Mountain had a four-shot lead over Phoenix Desert Vista after the first day on Friday (Nov. 1) and led Mountain View by nine.
Mountain View nearly rallied to win the title for the second straight season. The Toros overcame a 13-shot deficit to defeat Phoenix Brophy Prep a year ago.
Hamilton said that during Saturday’s round, “I couldn’t breathe for about an hour. In golf, you kind of have to wait it out. Softball results come kind of quick. We were making a ton of pars, but that kind of went away for awhile.’’
He added that a strong first-day effort was a significant factor in winning it all.
“It allowed us to just go out today and play with no regrets,’’ he said.
Other Red Mountain individual scores – Brady Dominguez (73-76—149), Jake Guess (72-77—149), Gabe Velarde (74-76—150) and Tommy Sullivan (79-74-153).
Phoenix Pinnacle’s Ty Macias was the first-round individual leader with a 67, but struggled on Saturday. Harden, meanwhile, turned up the heat on the back nine.
Harden birdied four of the final seven holes.
The senior said he always has driven the ball well, but didn’t always measure up with his putting.
That changed here.
“I made some clutch putts,’’ he said.
“I don’t want to say I’m in shock, but from my freshman and sophomore years, I have gotten better, better than I thought.’’
Entering the final round, he said he thought, “Just play my game, don’t worry too much and I will at least have a chance.’’
Much of his improvement has come from the simple fact that he has played a lot more over the past year. He said he was familiar with the Aguila course, having shot a 66 there at an invitational tournament earlier this season.
NOTE – The Arizona Interscholastic Association experimented with an electronic, up-to-the-minute live scoring system called iWanamaker with all of its tournaments at Aguila this week, and the system appeared to get good reviews. Full results were and are available on AIA365.com.
2013 DIVISION I FALL BOYS GOLF STATE TOURNAMENT
at Aguila Golf Course, Laveen
Mesa Red Mountain 586, Mesa Mountain View 589, Chandler Hamilton 591, Phoenix Brophy Prep 595, Phoenix Desert Vista 596, Scottsdale Chaparral 600, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 601, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 604, Glendale Mountain Ridge 605, Gilbert Highland 607, Phoenix Pinnacle 610, Mesa Desert Ridge 612, Tucson Ironwood Ridge 621, Gilbert Mesquite 621, Anthem Boulder Creek 626, Tempe Corona del Sol 626, Phoenix Sunnyslope 637, Gilbert 642, Gilbert Perry 643, Goodyear Millennium 653.
Top 10 individuals (par 72)
Ben Harden, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 71-67—138; Jake Deforest, Scottsdale Chaparral, 72-69—141; J.T. Rodenkirch, Mesa Red Mountain, 69-72—141; Eric Ghim, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, 73-69—142; T.J. Kathrineberg, Mesa Desert Ridge, 75-67—142; Ty Macias, Phoenix Pinnacle, 67-75—142; David Rauer, Vail Cienega, 71-73—144; Jino Sohn, Chandler Hamilton, 72-72—144; Josh Delo, Mesa Mountain View, 74-70—144; David Ricciardelli, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 73-72—145.